Beast Mode: Strasburg man appearing on Netflix series ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’
WINCHESTER – Colt Scott knows a little bit about overcoming hurdles in everyday life. As a Type 1 diabetic, the 23-year-old Strasburg native deals with such on a daily basis. And for the last five years, Scott has been tackling obstacles in quite the literal sense, as well.
Scott, a 2012 graduate of Strasburg High School and a 2016 Shenandoah University grad, found an interest in gymnastics in October 2007, which in turn transformed into the drive to earn a spot in one of the competitive obstacle course television shows that have been growing in popularity in America over the last eight years.
Scott found his “ticket in” to such a show, he recalled last Friday afternoon, with the arrival of the Netflix competitive reality series “Ultimate Beastmaster,” which made its debut on the online streaming service last February.
Scott took the necessary steps to apply for a spot on the show. He sent a fitness video exhibiting his physical ability to show organizers, and when that prompted an invitation for Scott to put together an application video detailing his background, he did so knowing the importance of showcasing his on-camera energy and his life story.
“My story was that I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and that nothing can hold you back,” Scott said last week, sitting atop a mat in a room filled with various obstacles inside East Coast Gymnastics in Winchester, where he does most of his training and works as an obstacle course instructor. “I was like the token disability guy and I was gonna play the card I was dealt. Other guys had stories like, ‘I was living in a car and I struggled through this.’ It’s just about overcoming obstacles in life and in reality.”
Scott’s story must’ve impressed show officials, because he received an official invitation to compete on “Ultimate Beastmaster” on Halloween of last year and was flown out to Santa Clarita, California, on Nov. 7, 2016 to begin filming.
His performance is being showcased to the world today. Season 2 of the show became available for streaming on Netflix at midnight.
Scott wasn’t allowed to divulge the specifics of his performance a week before the show became available for viewing, but he did offer a glimpse into his experience while on the set of the reality series, beginning with when his plane touched down on the West Coast and he caught his first glimpse of the show’s obstacle course.
“After a few days we went to the set and we finally got to see ‘The Beast’ and it was just like a concert,” Scott said. “It was like we came over the mountains and you just see this massive creature full of obstacles, just huge, and that’s when it was like, ‘OK, let’s go.'”
According to information Scott received from show officials, the obstacle course – referred to as “The Beast” – used in the second season was built using over five miles of truss, weighed around 50 tons and is about 640 feet from the “chin” to the base of the tower. The highest point on “The Beast” reaches over eight stories.
Scott said he and his fellow competitors – there were 108 participants from the United States, Spain, France, Italy, China and India – had no idea what to expect from the course upon arrival. (Season 1 of the show had yet to air at the time Season 2 was filmed). Though the contestants were given a thorough demonstration of the various obstacles, they weren’t allowed to touch or exercise on “The Beast” before filming.
In each episode of “Ultimate Beastmaster” 12 contestants (two from each country) compete against each other and earn points for completing different challenges. A single “Beastmaster” is crowned at the end of each episode, and the winners from each of the first nine episodes then compete for the title of “Ultimate Beastmaster” in the season finale.
“Power and endurance are the two things that you definitely need,” Scott said of competing on the show. “Energy coils is an obstacle that was from Season 1 and they carried that over into Season 2, and that one was incredible. It didn’t get scary for me until that happened because you’re 20 feet up, you have to get a broad jump of 10 feet or more to get to the next pedestal, and if you didn’t, well God help you, you fall down. And so actually coming back on one I ended getting up getting a hairline fracture on a rib because I came at it so hard.
“In some obstacle shows they test your skill mentally – how quickly can you get through this? This show truly tested your physical ability,” he added. “How far can you jump, how long can you hang and how tightly can you hold? That’s what this show’s about.”
The best part of the experience, Scott said, was meeting people from other countries. There were 18 competitors, plus two alternates, from each of the six countries represented.
“All of our trailers were next to each other, some countries shared trailers, and it was so much like being in the Olympic Village,” he said. “Everyone was nice, everyone talked to each other – or what little we could translate – and it was just the best.
“In fact, one guy celebrated his birthday on set, and so he had six countries sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him in their native language. Stuff like that, it’s hard to describe. It was really surreal.”
Though Scott did say he could’ve performed better on the show and that he’s grown a lot since he took his turn on “The Beast” over a year ago, he added that he never let his bout with Type 1 diabetes slow him down during competition – not even when he felt his blood sugar was low right before he was to start one of the levels and was forced to pause filming.
“That’s absolutely what I wanted my message to be. If I can walk away and have somebody say that they have a role model, that they see someone and think, ‘I can do this,’ then I can die happy,” said Scott, who competes regularly in obstacle-course style competitions with his longtime coach, Jonathan Wyman, and good friend/training partner Eli Bell, a fellow diabetic. “And since we’ve been doing this sort of thing we’ve gone to competitions and people have found out that we’re diabetic and we’ve had parents come up to us and say, ‘Hey, our kid’s diabetic, they really think it’s cool that you’re doing this.’ That just means the world to me.”
As for the next step, Scott said he and his gym mates are always “on the road finding their next adventure” and seem to be in a different state every other week to rock climb or take part in competitions at various gyms. He’s also done testing for “American Ninja Warrior,” another obstacle-based television series, and recently competed in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships in Ontario, Canada in October.
“It’s a lifestyle. I’m never gonna leave it. You would have to take my legs away and I’d still do it,” Scott said.
“Just (looking for) the next show, next challenge, next obstacle, next adventure. I mean the world’s wide open.”